Saturday 18 November 2017

Focus on Irish Fashion: Deborah Veale

Deborah Veale
Deborah Veale
A white dress from the new Deborah Veale collection

Sinead Van Kampen

Tatler award-winning designer Deborah Veale is famous for her sleek tailoring and luxurious fabrics. She has a diverse range of celebrity fans including Yasmin Le Bon and Mary McAleese and we at Independent Woman thought it time to catch up with the former NCAD graduate for the lowdown on her unique sense of style...

When did you realise that you wanted to be a fashion designer?

When I was 18 and living in Paris during my gap year I became passionately interested in clothes and accessories - much to my financial detriment! I was inspired to create the whole looks from head to toe as I didn't see why it just had to be just about the clothes, it evolved into footwear and bags almost effortlessly.

What was the first piece you designed?

A black silk kneelength tulip skirt was the first piece I designed from scratch. Drawing, pattern construction, toiling and sewing it myself. There was also an attempt at making a maxi skirt out of a blue and white gingham tablecloth when I was eight - it didn't work out!

What is your current inspiration?

I recently came across some beautiful fashion illustrations from the1820s and have become fascinated by the delicacy and femininity of the time. Also, I recently visited the Jacquemart-Andre Museum in Paris, which is this beautiful house which holds some of the amazing examples of 18th century French and Italian renaissance paintings.

How would you describe your Spring 2011 collection?

Sensuous, elegant soft lines with discreet sexiness in dresses! I've looked to blend softly structured tailored garments in cottons, shimmering chiffons and embellished silks. Colour runs from optic whites, to chambray blues and there are some nude pinks as well.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

Balancing a sense of creative energy with a strict business plan. The conflict between those areas is the most difficult part of having your own label but if you manage to achieve it, the results are very rewarding.

If you could choose a celebrity endorsement who would it be?

Yasmin Le Bon, she has already worn pieces from the collection and has a unique fashion DNA. Lorraine Keane, Kathryn Thomas, Grainne Seoige and Pamela Flood are some of the Irish celebrities who have been wonderfully supportive in the past .

Which collections have impressed you this season?

Vionnet, which is wonderfully pretty and delicately considered, and also Marchesa for red carpet appeal - restrained but still fabulous!

What is the one item every girl should have in her closet?

Good shoes.

What was your most tragic fashion moment?

A perm. It's not even one of those retro looks that you can look back on with fond understanding! I hope we never see its like again .

Where do you like to shop?

I like to mix it up - Harvey Nichols, Kildare Village, Seegreen, Vera Moda, Top Shop and Pennys.

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

Buying lunch at the farmers' market in the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire - I love having family around to share it.

Any insider secrets?

Elizabeth Arden eight-hour cream which a make-up artist on a shoot recommended, it's a fantastic night treatment I haven't been without it since. Touche Eclat is also brilliant for hiding tiredness or those late nights!

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